Wellington ex-All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder, left, tries to fend off Matty McKenzie.
The Yarrows Taranaki Bulls were beaten 29-21 by Wellington in a pre-season representative rugby fixture at Dallison Park, Waverley, on Saturday.
The team from the capital showed much more precision in the first half opening up a 24-7 lead at the break.
That proved the difference, with Taranaki more competitive in the second spell, albeit with both sides taking the opportunity to give their large squads game time.
Playing into the wind in the first half, Taranaki opened the scoring with Bradley Slater the beneficial of an accurate line-out drive after six minutes. Josh Jacomb, the starting No 10, converted.
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However, after that Wellington dominated procession and territory. Among the contributors were Ruben Love, Billy Proctor and Dominic Bird.
Wellington played with width and excellent ball retention, netting four tries, with Love claiming one himself and adding two conversions.
Taranaki’s best spell of play was the first 20 minutes of the second half.
It received a succession of penalties close to the Wellington line, with referee Will Johnston’s patience resulting in Taine Plumtree seeing yellow.
Soon after, Kaylum Boshier scored from a pushover try, just reward for Taranaki as it had a clear superiority up front in the second half, with Mitch O’Neill prominent.
Matt McKenzie, who had moved in a place to first five-eighth, added the extras.
That narrowed the margin to 24-14, but brought more urgency to Wellington’s play. The added a further unconverted to make the game safe.
But Taranaki had the last say with Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens featuring during the move and finalizing the try following a fine Taranaki attacking play. McKenzie again converted.
Taranaki’s opening Bunnings NPC match is against Northland at Pukekura Park on August 7.
Meanwhile in other rugby news, the Taranaki Whio lost to Tasman in their second match of the season 27-17 in Nelson. Taranaki led 12-10 at the break.
Tukapa’s hopes of making the national under-85 final for a second year in a row were dashed on Saturday. Tukapa lost 26-17 to Karaka at Sanders Park.
However, there were big celebrations at the Whangamomona on Saturday after it lifted the Dean Cup at the Toko Domain.
Whangamomona defeated the hosts 28-7 to claim the prized cup, which was donated in 1906.
Its first defense is against Strathmore this coming Saturday.
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